CA: Senate Passes Bill Strengthening Parental Rights for Non-Biological Parents
July 15, 2011 by Bryan
The California State Senate passed the Protection of Parent-Child Relationships Act (AB 1349) in a 23-14 vote and now heads to Go. Jerry Brown’s desk. Current law fails to sufficiently protect the rights of non-biological parents who have raised a child. The child’s biological parents may sign a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity and use this declaration to cut a non-biological parent out of the picture. AB 1349 will clarify that the courts can consider the relationship between the child and his or her biological and non-biological parents when they are asked to rule on who the child’s legal parents are. This bill would protect parents in both same-sex and opposite-sex couples.
Via Equality California:
Today, the California State Senate passed the Protection of Parent-Child Relationships Act (AB 1349) in a 23-14 vote. Authored by Assemblymember Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) and sponsored by Equality California and the Association of California Adoption Lawyers (ACAL), the bill would allow the courts to determine who a child’s parents are in cases where there is both a non-biological parent and a man who has signed a voluntary declaration of paternity.
“It is critical that state courts take into consideration the established relationship between a parent and child when determining legal parentage,” said Equality California Executive Director Roland Palencia. “This bill would protect families from being broken up by preserving children’s established family relationships, and this includes LGBT families.”
This bill will fix a problem caused by a recent case that said that courts cannot recognize a non-biological parent who has raised the child if another man signed a voluntary paternity declaration, even if the man who signed the declaration had no relationship with the child and no intention of raising the child.
Because of this case, children with non-biological parents are vulnerable to losing the parent they have always known. For example, when a same-sex or opposite-sex couple uses a sperm donor to conceive a child, if the couple later breaks up and the sperm donor and the biological mother sign a declaration of paternity, the non-biological parent may not be legally recognized as a parent.
“Parenting is more than just biology,” said Assemblyman Hill. “It’s about nurturing and a sacred bond between a child and a guardian that should not be severed by external forces.”
The Assembly passed AB 1349 in May. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk.
Time after time, California remains the most progressive on advancing LGBT issues and moving roadblocks to strengthen families and couples. Go Cali!